Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat

Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat

DISCLAIMER                                                ACKNOWLEDGMENTS                                                  Participants of consultation workshop with Technical
The designations employed and the presentation            This document presents the Sinjar District Profile.              Mr. Sulaiman Ahmed Khalaf (Head of Sinjar Municipality),
of material in this publication do not imply the          It has been prepared by UN-Habitat.                              Mr. Dilshad Ali (Head of Sinjar Health Directorate), Mr.
expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part                                                                           Luqman Sultan Hassan (Sinjar Health Directorate),
of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning       The project was implemented under the supervision of:            Mr. Anan Mihede Saed (Head of Sinjar Education
the legal status of any county, territory, city or area   Ms. Yuko Otsuki, Head of UN-Habitat Iraq a.i.                    Directorate), Mr. Ibrahim Hasan Ali (Head of Sinjar
or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of     and Dr. Erfan Ali, Director , Regional Office for Arab States,   Electricity Directorate), Mr. Jamil Sifok Morad (Head of
its frontiers or boundaries regarding its economic        UN-Habitat                                                       Sinuni Municipality), Mr. Qasim Hamad Morad (Head of
system or degree of development.                                                                                           Sinuni Water Directorate), Mr. Baker Sulaiman Haji (Head
                                                          A dedicated team was established for this project and            of Sinuni Health Directorate), Mr. Abdalrahman Taha
Copyright: © United Nations Human Settlements             included the following people:                                   Abid (Head of Qayrawan Municipality), Mr. Khalid Asaad
Programme in Iraq (UN-Habitat), 2019, unless              UN-Habitat: Mr. Tommaso Cossu, Mr. Ivan Thung, Mr.               Yasin (Head of Qayrawan Healh Directorate), Mr. Yasir
indicated otherwise.                                      Ameer Hussein, Ms. Sakar Mustafa.                                Alyas Khalaf and Mr. Ahmed Ghyib Hussein (Mukhtars
                                                          Other contributors from UN-Habitat are Mr. Kamal Sharo,          in Sinjar), Mr. Darwesh Khalaf Hamed and Mr. Suliman
United Nations Human Settlements Programme                Ms. Anna Soave, Ms. Raniah Kamal, Mr. Muslim Qazimi,             Kabu Shamo (Mukhtars in Sinuni).
(UN-Habitat),                                             Mr. Amanj Moruf, Mr. Hoveen Yasin, Mr. Karrar Yousif,                                         Ms. Nathalie Garner.                                             This project was generously funded by the Development
                                                                                                                           Account. The Development Account is a capacity
Excerpts may be reproduced without authorization,         The maps were drafted by the UN-Habitat project team,            development programme of the United Nations Secretariat
on condition that the source is indicated. Views          unless indicated otherwise. The presented satellite              aiming at enhancing capacities of developing countries
expressed in this publication do not necessarily          images were provided by Digital Globe, Nextview License,         in the priority areas of the United Nations Development
reflect those of the United Nations Human                 unless indicated otherwise.                                      Agenda. The Development Account is funded from the
Settlements Programme, the United Nations and                                                                              Secretariat’s regular budget and implemented by 10
its member states.                                        Subject of cover photo: Markaz Sinjar satellite view 2018        entities of the UN Secretariat (DESA, UNCTAD, UNEP, UN-
                                                                                                                           Habitat, UNODC, ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP and ESCWA).
                                                          UN-Habitat team would like to warmly thank the following         The Account was originally established in 1997 and since
                                                          officials for participating in the consultation meetings         then has programmed over 400 projects.
                                                          and their contributions:
                                                          Mr. Alasdair Mackie (UNDP), Ms. Charlie Sell (IOM),
                                                          Mr. Joachim Kleinmann (IOM), Ms. Christina Gkouvali
                                                          (UNHCR), Mr. Mohamad Ereiqat (WHO), Mr. Zeyad
                                                          Hamooshi (Ninewa Directorate of Planning), Mr. Ali Omar
                                                          (Ninewa Governor Office).
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat
4                                                    Sinjar Urban Profile


1 INTRODUCTION									                         11
1.1 Context											                          11
1.2 Conflict Timeline									                  17

2.1 Pre-crisis population								               19
2.2 IDPs and returnees									                 21
2.3 Status of IDPs from Sinjar in camps						   23

3 GOVERNANCE										                          27

4 SPACE AND URBAN INDICATORS							             29

5 HOUSING AND HLP									                      37

6 ECONOMY										                             41

7 BASIC SERVICES									                       43
7.1 Health											                           43
7.2 Education										                         45
7.3 Water Network									                      51
7.4 Electricity										                       53
7.5 Solid waste										                       55
7.6 Transport and mobilit								               57
7.7 Rehabilitation projects								             59

8 HERITAGE AND SOCIAL COHESION						            61

9 ANNEXES										                             64
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat


FIGURE 1. UN-Habitat’s previous City Profiles																						                                                                                           9
FIGURE 2. Mapping with local authorities (UN-Habitat, July 2019)																			                                                                          10
FIGURE 5. Yazidi women during a ceremony to celebrate the Yazidi New Year in Lalish. Source: © AFP/David Sim, 2007									                                  14
FIGURE 6. Shrine and tomb of Shaykh ‘Adī ibn Musāfir al-Umawī in Lalish. Source: © Levi Clancy, 2019												                                             15
FIGURE 8. Widespread destruction to the housing stock in Al-Shemal sub-district (UN-Habitat, August 2019)											                                         17
FIGURE 7. Writing in Markaz Sinjar remembering the Yazidi genocide of 3rd of August 2014 (UN-Habitat, August 2019)										                                 17
FIGURE 9. Bullet holes from different weaponry on a building in Markaz Sinjar (UN-Habitat, August 2019)												                                          18
FIGURE 10. Sunni Mosque and Shia Shrine in Markaz Sinjar																			                                                                                  19
FIGURE 11. Distribution of IDPs from Ninewa in refugee camps by district of origin. Source: CCCM/REACH, “Intention surveys in AoO”, February 2019				        25
FIGURE 12. Movement intentions of IDPs from Sinjar District. 																			                                                                             25
FIGURE 13. Perception of safety of IDPs from Sinjar District. 																			                                                                            25
FIGURE 14. Bajet Kandala Camp, near Rabiaa (UN-Habitat, August 2019)																	                                                                        26
FIGURE 15. View of Markaz Sinjar, from the Old City to the southern plains (UN-Habitat, August 2019)												                                             29
FIGURE 16. Devastation in Dhola (UN-Habitat, Mr. Mohamed Al Rubai’y, 2015)																                                                                   37
FIGURE 17. Different levels of damage in Al-Shemal sub-district, including complete destruction - second house from the right (UN-Habitat, August 2019)			   37
FIGURE 18. Example of STDM recorded parcels in Borek. Source: UN-Habitat HLP Team, August 2019 												                                                  39
FIGURE 19. Sinjar Silo on the right and Sinjar Flour Factory on the left (UN-Habitat, August 2019)													                                              41
FIGURE 20. Sinjar Cement Factory (UN-Habitat, August 2019)																			                                                                                41
FIGURE 21. Flocks of sheeps on barren land in Al-Shemal sub-district (UN-Habitat, August 2019)													                                                  41
FIGURE 22. Destroyed shops in Barbush neighborhood, Markaz Sinjar (UN-Habitat, August 2019)													                                                     41
FIGURE 23. Fires in Al-Shemal district close to already damaged houses (UN-Habitat, August 2019													                                                 42
FIGURE 24. Books and review notes dated 2010 from a destroyed school - details removed for privacy (UN-Habitat, August 2019								                          47
FIGURE 25. Borehole for water extraction in Markaz Sinjar (UN-Habitat, August 2019)																                                                          51
FIGURE 26. Mobile power stations in Markaz Sinjar (UN-Habitat, August 2019)																                                                                  53
FIGURE 27. Abandoned rubbles and waste in Sinjar (UN-Habitat, August 2019)																                                                                   55
FIGURE 28. The road heading east from Sinuni (UN-Habitat, August 2019)																	                                                                      57
FIGURE 30. The shrine of Sheikh Abdul Aziz post-destruction (June 2018, (©Faris Mishko/All Rights Reserved)											                                       62
FIGURE 29. The shrine of Sheikh Abdul Aziz pre-destruction (October 2012, ©Robert Leutheuser/All Rights Reserved)										                                  62
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat
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TABLE 1. Number of original villages subjected to forced displacement per collective township (mujamma)		           15
TABLE 2. Estimated population before 2014 by sub-district and breakdown by ethnic/religious groups, as reported by
municipalities and mukhtars														                                                                           20
TABLE 3. Number of families and returnees per village or area, June 2019. Source: IOM-DTM Returnee Master List and
IOM-DTM IDP Master List, 30 June 2019													                                                                  21
TABLE 4. List of public buildings in Markaz Sinjar in July 2019. Source: Local Authorities					                     27
TABLE 5. Markaz Sinjar neighborhoods area breakdown										                                                       31
TABLE 6. Markaz Sinjar, Sinuni and Qayrawan land cover breakdown								                                            33
TABLE 7. Damage assessment breakdown in Markaz Sinjar based on satellite damage assessments by UNOSAT. This
is a low estimate as satellite damage assessments are only able to identify a part of actual damages on the ground.
TABLE 8. List of housing rehabilitations Source: Housing Damage Assessment & Rehabilitation Platform - UN-Habitat and
Shelter Cluster Iraq															                                                                                 39
TABLE 9. List of main health facilities in Sinjar District. Source: Local Authorities, July 2019				                43
TABLE 10. List of main education facilities in Sinjar District. Source: Local Authorities, July 2019			             45
TABLE 11. Continues from Table 10												                                                                       47
TABLE 12. List of education facilities in Markaz Sinjar, Sinuni and Qayrawan. Source: Local Authorities, July 2019 53
TABLE 13. List of religious sites in Sinjar District. Source: Wikimapia and Yazda (August 2019), Destorying the Soul of
the Yazidis 																		                                                                                      61
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat

LIST OF APPENDICES                                                                      LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS & ACRONYMS

ANNEX I- Aerial view of Markaz Sinjar. Source: DigitalGlobe, August 2018 	        65    AoO		     Area of Origin
ANNEX II- Aerial view of Sinuni. Source: DigitalGlobe, August 2016 		             66    CRRPD     Commission on the Resolution of Real Property Disputes
ANNEX III- Aerial view of Qayrawan. Source: DigitalGlobe, May 2019 		             67    HLP 		    Housing Land and Property
ANNEX IV- List of original villages, towns and hamlets in Sinjar District. Source:      HRW 		    Human Rights Watch
Wikimapia, August 2019 									                                                  68    IDP 		    Internally Displaced People
ANNEX V - Original villages, towns and hamlets in Sinjar District. Source: Wikimapia,   IGC 		    Interim Governing Council
            August 2019 									                                                 69    IOM 		    International Organization for Migration
ANNEX VI- Borek Masterplan 									                                              70    IPCC 		   Iraq Property Claims Commission
ANNEX VIII- Dogure Masterplan							                                              70    IPRF 		   Iraqi Property Reconciliation Facility
ANNEX IX - Khana Sor Masterplan 								                                          70    ISF 		    Iraqi Security Force
ANNEX VII- Dhola Masterplan								                                               70    ISIL 		   Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (or ISIS and often referred to as
ANNEX XI- Guhbal Masterplan 								                                              71    		        Daesh,abbreviation of the group’s name in Arabic)
ANNEX XII - Markaz Sinjar Masterplan 							                                      71    KDP 		    Kurdistan Democratic Party
ANNEX X- Zorava Masterplan 								                                               71    KRG 		    Kurdistan Regional Government
ANNEX XIII - List of main humanitarian interventions in Sinjar District 		        72    KRI 		    Kurdistan Region of Iraq
ANNEX XIV - List of main water wells in Sinjar District. Source: UNDP Iraq FFS, 		      MOA 		    Ministry of Agriculture
		           August 2019 									                                                75    MOJ 		    Ministry of Justice
                                                                                        MoMPW     Ministry of Municipalities & Public Works
                                                                                        NFI		     Non-Food Items
                                                                                        NGO 		    Non-governmental Organisation
                                                                                        OHCHR     Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
                                                                                        PKK		     Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê in Kurdish)
                                                                                        STDM      Social Tenure Domain Model
                                                                                        UNAMI     United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq
                                                                                        UNHCR     United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
                                                                                        VBIED     Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device
                                                                                        YPG 		    Known as the People’s Protection Units - the main Kurdish force in
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat
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                    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

                    Recovery and reconstruction following conflict is a long           settle down in old Yazidi villages and areas under Sharia
                    process, particularly after the level of damage incurred in        administration where the population is low. The result is
                    Sinjar district, in northern Iraq, in the last few years. The      that Sinjar District is characterized by one of the lowest
                    district faces enormous challenges in its reconstruction           return rates in the entire country, and over two and a
                    and recovery. Reconstructing hard infrastructure, one              half years following the end of the conflict some villages
                    facility at a time, allows for normal life to return to a          remain deserted.
                    city. However, for infrastructure to become a service
                    it requires staff, maintenance and demand. It is nearly
                    impossible to recover all of this at once, including all the
                    skilled personnel required to operate infrastructure. The
                    same is seen in the recovery of economic sectors, which
                    depend on a variety of skills from a diverse population in
                    order to return to the way the economy functioned prior
                    to the conflict. It is a difficult step to take to return to a
                    place where one has experienced extremely traumatic
                    events, and to risk the lives and dignity of one’s family
                    again. As recovery is a slow process, people should be
                    able to return to their areas of origin to rebuild their lives
                    at their own pace, before committing to the full relocation
                    of their families. For IDPs from Sinjar, this is not possible
                    for the time being due to current procedures in place that
                    make it difficult to leave the Kurdistan Region, where most
                    IDPs fled to. This requires going through long procedures
                    to obtain approvals from multiple administrative and
                    security authorities, which can take over a month. Once
                    IDPs from Sinjar leave Kurdistan it is difficult for them to
                    return and to re-obtain a tent inside the camps, therefore
                    they risk losing the option to receive financial support,
                    services, and the relative stability provided by camps.
                    This is considered a major obstacle to return and at the
                    very least, travels between Kurdistan and Sinjar should
                    be a possibility until the level of services in Sinjar is higher
                    than that of the camps. Many IDPs prefer to stay in the
                    camps, where they know what conditions to expect, where
                    there is the possibility to apply to emigrate to Europe or
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat

The escalation of violence that brought the rise of ISIS, with the        to external stakeholders seeking to assist in the crisis response
subsequent conflicts, has had a significant effect on the whole           and recovery.
region’s major cities, with large scale movements of population,          The work started with the identification the focus themes of
damage to buildings and infrastructure and interruptions to               research and their interlinkages, the definition of the final draft of
markets. Cities represent multiple and inter-related formal and           table of contents, the selection of the required indicators with help
informal systems and need to be described and analysed in                 of the data collection toolbox compiled from previous profiling
an integrated manner that captures the complexity of urban                experiences and the definition of a data collection plan to be
conditions. Until now, the majority of information available has          implemented through focus groups or surveys in sample areas of
been sector-wise, rather than integrated or area-wise.                    the city.
A major characteristic of this crisis has been the shortage of            The team analysed the existing data collected through previously
information to inform decision making, from assessment of                 held housing workshops and regional planning exercises, and
needs or monitoring of evolving issues. At the same time, the             took advantage of an ample availability of grey literature, most
current lack of stability in many areas of the region is undermining      of it focused on the aftermath of the Yazidi genocide, to identify
the collection of clear data and information. Without better              information gaps and editorial needs, as well as querying field
understanding at family, community and city levels, humanitarian          researchers and service providers and conducting secondary-
interventions may not be responsive or appropriate. Without a             source research, in order to fill in identified gaps. UN-Habitat’s team
better understanding of local institutions, interventions may not         utilised reports drafted by UN agencies and key humanitarian actors
be anchored and without better monitoring of local conditions, the        working in refugee camps characterised by a strong presence of
impact of interventions cannot be evaluated. UN-Habitat seeks             IDPs from Sinjar District, or currently working in rehabilitation of
to provide up to date, holistic documentation and analysis of the         public facilties and housing stock in the area through consultations
impact of the crisis in key cities, through City Profiles, synthesising   aimed at the exchange of data and information. The meetings
information and insights from existing sources and priority sectors,      involved, among others, UNDP, UNHCR, IOM, Shelter Cluster, WHO,
supplemented by direct field research by UN-Habitat teams based           and UNMAS. The involvement of specific teams from specialized
in each city. UN-Habitat’s expertise in urban analysis, community         agencies was necessary in order to conduct an in depth research
approaches and crisis contexts have informed the development of           through various sectors, selecting relevant information that could
the City Profiling process. All City Profiles are developed in close      be used in a cross-cutting analysis.
association with the concerned governorates and municipalities.           In order to cope with the lack of data and information, which
The structure of the City Profile provides a pre-conflict baseline        characterizes the area, the team organised three technical
and current situation data to measure the impact of the crisis                                                                                      FIGURE 1. UN-Habitat’s previous City Profiles
accompanied by a narrative description and analysis. The City
Profiles review the functionality of the city economy and services,
understanding of capacities and coping mechanisms and the
identification of humanitarian and recovery priorities. They do not
provide comprehensive data on individual topics, but seek to provide
a balanced overview. Further detailed investigation on shelter
and housing issues are addressed through a dedicated shelter
assessment process. The City Profile affords an opportunity for a
range of stakeholders to represent their diagnosis of the situation
in their city, provides a basis for local discussions on actions to be
taken and helps to make local information and voices accessible
Sinjar Urban Profile - UN-Habitat
10                                                                                                                                           Sinjar Urban Profile

              meetings with the aim of exploring themes of interest, substantiate
              particular assumptions and fill information gaps.

              The consultations were developed as follows:
              1. First technical meeting in Markaz Sinjar to present the profiling
              exercise, gather a list of contacts of local authorities and
              representatives of directorates and a first mapping session.
              2. Second technical meeting in UN-Habitat’s office (UNAMI, Erbil),
              consisting of a two days session of mapping and data gathering
              with the Heads of Markaz Sinjar, Sinuni and Qayrawan Municipalities
              and representatives from Directorates like Health, Education, and
              Electricity. The participants were provided, in advance, with a list of
              requested information of various indicators needed to understand
              the situation before and after the crisis of August 2014.
              3. Third technical meeting in Markaz Sinjar with Mukhtars, aiming
              at the collection of information at the neighborhood scale. In
              this occasion the team had the chance to acquire photographic

              Results of technical meetings were incorporated and elaborated in
              maps and tables, and after each consultation the team conducted
              a new data review and identified the gaps in information to be filled
              in the next workshop. Despite the difficulties of reaching Sinjar
              District local authorities constantly supported the research by
              means of conference calls and updates on facilities and networks
              The great challenge of this City Profile was the lack of data
              together along with the difficulty of data collection. UN-Habitat’s
              team worked on the production of datasets and maps “from
              scratch,” coping with heterogeneous sources. This meant focusing
              on enhancing reliability and completeness of received information
              through an intense work of verification and the implementation of
              a peer-to-peer methodology.                                               FIGURE 2. Mapping with local authorities (UN-Habitat, July 2019)

1               INTRODUCTION

1.1 CONTEXT                                                                                                                      characterized by a 70km long mountain, known as Sinjar Mountain,
                                                                                                                                 that raises on the flat lands of western Iraq. Due to this significant
NINEWA GOVERNORATE                                                                                                               topographic configuration the territory is divided in two areas,
                                                                                                                                 north and south of the mountain. Geologically, Sinjar Mountain is
The Governorate of Ninewa (also Nineveh), is located in northern                                                                 the biggest anticline structure of northern Iraq, reaching 1,463m
Iraq on the border with Syria and adjacent to Dohuk, Erbil, Salah                                                                at its highest point. The mountain is a groundwater recharge area
al-Din, and Anbar governorates. It is Iraq’s third largest (37,323 sq.                                                           as the quality of water is good on and around the mountain, but it
km)1 and second most populated governorate, with 3,237,918                                                                       is affected by distance from the elevation and by the season. The
people in 2009.2 The population growth rate is estimated to be                                                                   quantity is generally sufficient for agriculture and stock use.5 The
around 3%3, thus the population before the conflict with ISIS most                                                               district gives its name to a hygroscopic calcium chloride found                                            FIGURE 3. Sinjarite mineral. Source: ©
likely exceeded 3,700,000 people. Agriculture is a key component                                                                 in the area in limestone exposures within the deposits located in
of Ninewa’s economy, particularly in the production of cereal, as                                                                “Widyan,” the small valleys created by flowing water, appearing as
well as sugar cane, sunflowers, vegetables and herbs. Industrial                                                                 a soft pink mineral. The landscape under the mountain is shaped                                                          TURKEY

activities consist mainly of cement, sugar, textiles, and beverage                                                               by gentle hills in the areas surrounding the northern side of the
factories. Other activities include commercial retail stores, small                                                              mountain, while it flattens out towards Syria, and on the southern                                                                         Sinjar               IRAN
factories and privately owned businesses, cereal crushing plants,                                                                part of the mountain. The area appears to have low population                                                   SYRIA
and steel and timber producing plants. Ninewa ranks among                                                                        density, but by taking a second look it is possible to notice small                                                                       Governorate
some of the poorest governorates in Iraq. Food insecurity grew                                                                   villages and sometimes just groups of houses. The whole district
significantly in the last decade due to prolonged drought. In 2011,                                                              is dotted by these small settlements that prove that there is an old
26% of the population lived below the poverty line of US$ 2.5 per                                                                and deeply rooted relationship between the communities and the
day, more than double the national level (11.5%). The literacy rate of                                                           territory based on agricultural activities.
75.5% is lower than the national average. Rural intermediate school
enrolment rates are among the worst in Iraq.4 Ninewa comprises
nine districts: Al-Hatra, Al-Ba’aj, Tal Afar, Al-Mosul, Akre, Sinjar, Al-                                                                                                                                                                    JORDAN
Hamdaniya, Tilkaef (here listed from the biggest to the smallest in
terms of surface area).


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   SAUDI ARABIA
Sinjar district is located in the north-west of Ninewa Governorate:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 KUWAIT
it borders Syria on its north and west sides, Al-Ba’aj district on
the south, and a small section borders Al-Hathra District and
Tal-Afar District on the west. Its area is 2,886km2. The district is                                                                                                                                                                        FIGURE 4. Location of Sinjar District in Iraq

1 UN Joint Analysis and Policy Unit (June 2015), “Ninewa Governorate Profile”
                                                                                                                                 5 Al-Sawaf, F.D.S. UCL Doctoral Thesis (July 1977), “Hydrogeology of south Sinjar Plain, Northwest Iraq”
2 CSO (2009), “Iraq’s governorates by area and their relative share of area and population 1997 and 2009”

3 Iraq National Population Commission -INPC, supported by United Nations Population Fund - UNFPA (June 2012), “Iraq Population

Situation Analysis Report”

4 Ibid.


                                                                                            BOREK          GUHBAL

                                                                                      AL-YARMOUK       AL-ANDALUS

                                                      IRAQ                   DHOLA
                                                     SHEMAL         HITEEN
                                KHANA SOR             SINUNI
                               AL-TA’MEEM                                                      SINJAR MOUNTAIN


                                                                                      SINJAR MILITARY BASE

                                                                   KER UZAIR
              EMDÎBAN                                          AL-QATHANIYA                    KRZRK
        UMM AL-DHIBAN                                                                   AL-ADNANIYAH

                                    SÎBA ŞÊX XIDIR
To Syrian                              AL-JAZIRAH

                                                                                                             To Al-Ba’aj

                                                                                                      To Mosul     Sinjar comprises three sub-districts: Al-Shemal, Al-Qayrawan and
         HARDAN                                                                                                    Markaz Sinjar - Sinjar center. Sinuni (also called as Center of the
                                                                                                          47       Shemal district) is the administrative center of Al-Shemal in the
                                                                                                                   northern part of the district and Qayrawan is the administrative
                                                                                     TAL AFAR                      center of the sub-district of the same name in the southern part
                                                                                                                   of the district. Sinjar city manages the whole district and an area
                                                                                                                   surrounding the city, Markaz Sinjar. It is located between the
                                                                                                                   other two sub-districts. Before 1979, Sinjar district included an
                                                                                                                   area known as Al-Qathaniya, located south-west of the current
                  CEMENT FACTORY                                                                                   district. The estimated pre-crisis population of the whole district
                                                                                                                   was 340,000 individuals including Yazidis, Suni Arabs, Suni and
                                                                                                                   Shea Kurds, Shia Turkmen and Christians. Al-Shemal (North) sub-
                                                                                                                   district’s population is mainly Yazidi, with a small percentage of
                                                                                                                   Arabs,Kurds and the latter group populates small villages at the
                                                                                                                   border with Syria, at the north and north-west and at the border
                                                                                                                   with Tal Afar district, at the north-east. The southern part of the
                                                                                                                   district, Al-Qayrawan, has a population of about 74,000 citizens and
                                                                                                                   is divided into three densely populated urban centers around which
                  TAL BANAT                                                                                        a group of villages with diverse races and religions are spread.
     BAATH                                                                                                         The center of the district is predominantly Arab with 16,000 Arabs,
                                                                                                                   while the Yazidis are concentrated in two large complexes; Tal-
                                                                                                                   Qasab complex with 18,000 Yazidis and Tal-Banat complex with
                                                                                                                   12,600 Yazidis and 1,400 Al-Bashkan (Kurds Shia). The rest of the
                                                                                                                   population of about 26,000 citizens live in 52 villages, most of which
                                                                                                                   are Arab villages, and the remaining vi llages are divided between
                                   QAYRAWAN                                                                        Yazidis, Shia and Sunni Kurds, and Shia and Sunni Turkomans. Prior
                                                                                                                   to the entry of ISIS to the region, different ethnicities and religions
                                                                                                                   coexisted peacefully in Sinjar and its administrative centre. Sinjar
                                                                                                                   City has a population of around 30,000 people, with the largest
                                                                                                                   concentration being the Kurds and Arabs (almost all Sunni Arabs),
                                                                                                                   making up 18,000 and 7,500 of residents respectively. Of the 18,000
                                                                                                                   Kurds, half of them were close to the Sunni Kurds, and the other
                                                                                                                   half to the Shia Kurds (represented by the clans of the Babawat and
                                                                                                                   Al-Bashkan). The centre is also home to some 2,200 Yazidis and
                                                                                                                   a mixture of Shia and Sunni Turkomans, and dozens of Christian
                                                                                                                   families. In contrast to the Kurdish and Arab concentration in Sinjar
                                                                                                To old Sahl        district, the villages surrounding the centre of the district has a
                                                                                                                   population of around 45,000 people who represent a variety of
                                                                                                Sinjar Air Base
                                                                                                                   Arab, Yazidi, Kurdish, Turkomans and Sunni Shia villages.

                                              MAP 1 - SINJAR DISTRICT AERIAL IMAGE. SOURCE OF SATELLITE IMAGERY:
                                              GOOGLE EARTH
14                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sinjar Urban Profile

               YAZIDIS                                                                                                            ARABISATION (TA’RIB) AND DISPLACEMENT                                        TURKEY

               The entire Sinjar region (north, central and south of Sinjar Mountain)                                             Yazidis, as well as other minorities, have been experienced                                                                   Duhok
               is known to be the homeland of the Yazidis, a religious minority                                                   discriminatory policies since the 1970s. Following the Algiers                    SYRIA                                                                     TURKEY
               that has lived in the region for centuries. The majority of Yazidis                                                Agreement in 1975 between Iraq and Iran to end the Kurdish war, the
               speak the Kurdish language Kurmanji, a Kurdish dialect used by                                                     regime executed an alienating demographic policy which saw the                                                                                   Shaikhan
               the Kurds living in the northwestern regions of Iraq near the border                                               large-scale attempt to enforce the Arabisation (ta’rib) of the northern                                       Talafar

               with Turkey which is affected by its location in the Kurdish areas                                                 areas inhabited by Iraqi minorities, in an effort to lessen the threat                 Al-Shemal                                                            Erbil
               of Turkey and Syria. The Yazidi religion is said to be 4,000 years                                                 of enemies (real or perceived) to the Ba’ath Party’s dominance in                                  Markaz Sinjar
               old1 and it shares many rituals and principles with other religions                                                Iraq through ethnic “dilution.” This translated into the displacement                                                                                   Hamdaniya
               like Paganism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Manichaeism and others.                                                      of hundreds of thousands of Kurds and other minorities from their                                  Al-Qayrawan                    Mosul
               Prohibition to eat pork and circumcision are consistent with Islam,                                                homes, in an attempt to resettle/repopulate the areas with Arabs
               baptism with Christianity and the worship of water and sun with                                                    from the south of Mosul, the north of Salah al-Din and the sub-
               Mandaeism. The name Yazidi (also spelled Yezīdī, Azīdī, Zedī, Izadī,                                               urban area of Kirkuk city, in addition to a smaller number of Shia
               Êzidî) may find its origin from the persianized (angel, deity) or yazada                                           Arab farmers from southern Iraq. In Sinjar district, in the summer of                                                                              Makhmour
               (divine being). In Kurdish, Yazdan translates into God, whereby                                                    1975, the severe application of the regime’s discriminatory policy                    Al-Ba’aj
               Yazidi means ‘worshipper of God’. Because of the blend of various                                                  triggered the deportation of thousands of Yazidi villagers. The new                                                Al-Hatra
               belief systems, known religiously as syncretism, and contested                                                     settlements were known by the Arabic word mujamma’at (singular:
               interpretations of Yazidi theology, they have been often branded as                                                mujamma) or “collectives.” Deriving from an Arabic root that stands
               heretics, apostates or unfairly “devil worshippers” and thus have                                                  for the “gathering in one place of things that are scattered around,”                                                                                  Kirkuk

               historically been subject to sharp persecution. Traditionally, the                                                 it was sometimes referred to as mujamma’at qasria, standing for
               Yazidi community was largely composed of farmers and herdsmen                                                      “forced collectives” which distinguishes them from mujamma’at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Salah Al-Din
               organized in tribes. For ethnic reasons, Yazidis are caught between                                                sakania, the low cost housing complexes built throughout the Arab             Anbar
               Arabs and Kurds and have always remained on the fringes of Iraqi                                                   region2. At the same time, this process envisaged the Arabization of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        MAP 2 - LOCATION OF SINJAR CITY IN NINEWA GOVERNORATE
               society. Many attempts to define their ethnic identity have been                                                   the Kurdish-majority city of Sinjar by confiscating transferable and
               politically motivated. Isolated geographically, and accustomed to                                                  non-transferable property or compulsory appropriation of Kurdish
               discrimination, the Yazidis forged an insular culture, reinforced                                                  homes on charges of participating in the Kurdish movement before
               also by the fact that Yazidi culture and religion are transmitted                                                  the 1975 Algiers agreement, and selling them by auction to Arab
               orally. Important cultural features of Yazidism include the system                                                 citizens from Mosul or the Baaj district, or by granting plots of land
               of caste and the traditional preference for living in Yazidi-only                                                  and residential housing to employees, officers, or affiliated Arabs
               communities, which needs to be understood when reflecting upon                                                     from south Mosul and north Salah al-Din. During the deportation
               their current displacement and settlement patterns.                                                                process, 146 rural hamlets to the north and south of Mount Sinjar.
                                                                                                                                  Reportedly, in parallel to the deportation process, the government
                                                                                                                                  ordered the destruction of village landmarks, homes, orchards and
                                                                                                                                  water sources in an effort to consolidate the displacement. The
                                                                                                                                  Arabisation process in Sinjar district, however, mostly caused short
                                                                                                                                  distance displacement rather than ethnic substitution, as often
                                                                                                                                  the ollective townships were built close to the main indigenous
                                                                                                                                  villages. The intention was according to the plans, as announced by
                                                                                                                                  the government at the time. On the other hand the efficient spatial
                                                                                                                                                                                                            FIGURE 5. Yazidi women during a ceremony to celebrate the Yazidi New
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Year in Lalish. Source: © AFP/David Sim, 2007
               1 Minority Rights Group International (2014), “Yazidis”, in World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples   2 Genat Melisande (2013), “Iraq”, in Niqash

design of the mujamma’at contributed to enforce control: the wide                                                               characterized by lack of clarity in the administrative structure and
grid-shaped streets and the modular blocks conceptualised in                                                                    accountability,
Baghdad were not only easy to build, but also to patrol, making
the resettlement not only a development intervention but also a
security project3. The main aim of the process was to impose
security by removing 146 Yazidi villages by forcing residents to the
new settlements and making their children join the compulsory
military service, which the Yazidis did not abide by. Those forced
to join the service often escaped to the caves in Sinjar Mountain
and formed rebellious groups against the military. The importance
of the impact of this process is that it envisaged the confiscation
of land towards a complex collectivisation, and even today many
inhabitants still experience the lack of property certificates for
the plots in which they have their houses. UN-Habitat is currently
leading a project on Housing, Land and Property (HLP) rights in
order to deliver this kind of certification. The occupation from
ISIL in August 2014 and that lasted until November 2015 caused
a huge wave of displacement in Sinjar district. Around 300,000
Yazidis, 8,000 Kurds and 30,000 Turkmans were displaced, with
most fleeing to refugee camps in northern KRI. Six years later, the
displacement phenomenon is still the main issue impacting life in
the district. Nowadays, Sinjar district is characterized by the lowest
rate of return in the whole country. The average return rate in Iraq is
                                                                                                                                                                                                           MAP 3 - KHANA SOR ORIGINAL VILLAGE ROAD NETWORK IN RED, AL-
73%, while in the district it is around 34%.4
                                                                                                                                                                                                           TAM’EEM MUJAMMA ROAD NETWORK IN BLUE. SOURCE OF SATELLITE
                                                                                                                                                                                                           IMAGERY: GOOGLE EARTH
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Collective townships                           No. of original
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Arabic name local language                          villages
The conflict with ISIS, unfortunately, broke the fragile balance
of tolerance and co-habitation between minorities. Instead of                                                                                                                                                                Al-Tam’eem Khana Sor                                 16
tightening as a group to fight off the invaders, the war caused                                                                                                                                                                    Hittin Dogure (Dkora)                          9
fragmentation, and broke down the trust between communities,                                                                                                                                                                 Al-Qadisiya Dhola (Dhoula)                           9
leading to clashes that continue to impact the safety and stability                                                                                                                                                          Al-Yarmouk Borek (Burke)                             16
of the area today. This represents the main obstacle for the return                                                                                                                                                           Al-Andalus Guhbal (Kohpl Yazidi)                    10
of IDPs: 82% of IDPs in camps report increased safety and security                                                                                                                                                            Al-Orouba Zorava (Zarafah)                          6
as the first need to enable return5. These issues cut across the                                                                                                                                                                  Sinuni Shemal                                   2
control of the territories, with many armed groups, security forces                                                                                                                                                               Baath Tal Qassab                                16
and militias claiming authority on villages and road checkpoints                                                                                                                                                              Al-Waleed Tal Banat                                 12
making the safety situation fluid. The political condition, which is                                                                                                                                                                                Total no. of villages         94
                                                                                                                                FIGURE 6. Shrine and tomb of Shaykh ‘Adī ibn Musāfir al-Umawī in Lalish.
                                                                                                                                Source: © Levi Clancy, 2019                                                TABLE 1. Number of original villages subjected to forced displacement per
                                                                                                                                                                                                           collective township (mujamma)
3 Zanger Maggy (2002), “Refugee in their own country”, in MER222 – Middle East Research and Information Project.

4 IOM - International Organisation for Migration (updated October 2019), “Iraq DTM Return Dashboard”,


5 CCCM Cluster – REACH (February 2019), Op. cit.
16                                                                                                                                          Sinjar Urban Profile

                    Shemal/Sinuni                                                                                                                 Dogure
                       Khana Sor                                                                                                                  Dohula

                                                                                                                                               Tal Banat
                                                                                                                                              Tal Qassab

                                                                                                                                      0   2   4    6   8 10
                                                                        MAP 4 - DYNAMICS OF THE FORCED DISPLACEMENT FROM VILLAGES TO COLLECTIVE TOWNSHIPS (MUJAMMA’AT)

                                    International border   District boundary       Villages       Collective township


Today, Sinjar District lies in a territory that has witnessed a          when Iraq had to face the war with Daesh (ISIL, or ISIS). During             of women and children. Yazidi women and girls were turned into
succession of conflicts since ancient times. Many rulers brought         the first half of August 2014, two months after the fall of Mosul,           sex-slaves, sold and abused, and children were brought to Syrian
their forces here and every change in power resulted in a conflict.      ISIL decided to strengthen its position in the territories between           territory and trained as ISIL child-soldiers. As has happened in the
From Assyrians to Babylonians around 600 BC, then to Achaemenid          Ninewa’s capital city and the Syrian border, pushing ISIL offense in         past, ISIL enforced the destruction of Yazidi and Shia religious
Persians at the end of the sixth century BC, Macedonians around          northern Iraq to Zumar, Sinjar, and Qaraqosh, reaching Bartella and          heritage. Sayeda Zeinab Shrine, a holy site for Shias located right
330BC and Parthians in the second half of the second century BC.         Makhmour which are close to KRI. In the night between the 2nd                at the top of Markaz Sinjar’s old city was blown up by ISIL in August
Thereafter, Markaz Sinjar and the area surrounding the city fell         and the 3rd of August 2014, ISIL attacked Markaz Sinjar and its              2014, as soon as they conquered the city. Many Yazidi shrines,
under Roman control, but this did not mean peace and it witnessed        surrounding villages. Beyond the casualties related to the armed             usually located outside the rural settlements and scattered across
numerous conflict between Romans and Persians. Around 360 AD,            conflict, the major losses among the Yazidi and Shia minorities              the whole district, were destroyed. The destruction also impacted
Markaz Sinjar was sacked by the Persians and it remained under           reportedly happened because of executions. Many captured men                 basic infrastructure such as the water network and targeted wells,
their control until it fell under Byzantine administration in the late   were murdered, after asking them to convert to Islam or face                 production facilities like Sinjar Cement Factory, public facilities like
sixth century AD. Since there are no archeological excavations           death, while women and children were abducted. This attack led               schools and hospitals, as well as a large part of the housing stock.
in the area, it is only possible to reconstruct the history of Sinjar    to the deaths of thousands of Yazidis and caused a huge wave
through the writings of the conquering empire’s historians. Yet the      of displacement with an estimated 250,000 civilians fleeing their
more recent the events are, the more precisely it is possible to track   homes to escape the brutal murders perpetrated by ISIL. Around
the history of conflict. In the second millennium AD the area of         100,000 of fleeing civilians were besieged on Sinjar Mountain. The
today’s district saw a series of attacks and clashes, apart from the     mountain provided them a shelter to hide, as it has in the past, but
great regional wars, characterized by the targeting of minorities,       it was surrounded by ISIL with most escape routes cut off. Trapped
Yazidis in particular. Minorities have often been victims of cultural    on the mountain with no food or water in the heat of the late Iraqi
change ventures, which likely turned into genocide attempts, with        summer, displaced people risked starvation and dehydration. One
more than 74 of them targeting the Yazidis. Since the times of           week after the 3rd of August 2014 (known as the day of the Sinjar
Sheykh ‘Adi ibn Musafir al-Umawi, different rulers attacked the          massacre) attack, the PKK, YPG and coalition forces cleared a
Yazidi communities that were living around Sinjar Mountain and in        corridor north of the mountain, allowing many of the besieged
the second area of concentration, Sheikhan (today’s north-eastern        civilians to evacuate towards Syria. ISIL’s control of Sinjar district
Ninewa). The aggressions often aimed not only at the conversion or       lasted months when in early October ISIL fighters seized the
elimination of Yazidis, but envisaged the looting and the destruction    territory north of the mountain, de facto besieging the mountain
of their villages and their cultural and religious heritage. The tomb    again. During the second half of December 2014 Peshmerga and
of Sheykh ‘Adi ibn Musafir al-Umawi has been desacrated several          YPG, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, joined their fronts. The
times, his bones set on fire and the building hosting the shrine has     majority of Sinjar District was under their control. The aftermath
been turned into a public utility building many times. Yazidis and the   of this conflict is sadly cross-cutting. It impacted the population
minorities living in the area were targeted even more when subjected     with a high number of losses caused by the murders, proved by the
to authoritarian governments that could not accept their cultural        discovery of 73 mass graves around the whole district, according
and religious differences within their territory. An example of this     to the government. It impacted the survivors, due to the traumatic
intransigence is the series of attacks led by Ottoman rulers against     experience of such violence and the large number of abductions               FIGURE 7. Writing in Markaz Sinjar remembering the Yazidi genocide of 3rd
                                                                                                                                                      of August 2014 (UN-Habitat, August 2019)
Yazidis where their attacks aimed not only at the murder of people,
but included the destruction of religious sites, cultural landmarks
and entire villages. This tragic history continues into recent times,
where the horrors of such cruel conflicts were brought to life again

                                                                                              FIGURE 8. Widespread destruction to the housing stock in Al-Shemal sub-district (UN-Habitat, August 2019)
18                                                                                                             Sinjar Urban Profile

                    FIGURE 9. Bullet holes from different weaponry on a building in Markaz Sinjar (UN-Habitat, August 2019)



The estimated pre-crisis population of the whole district was around         located around Road 47 that links Markaz Sinjar and Tel Afar, close
297,000 people, including Yazidis, Arabs, Kurds, Shia Turkmen and            to the border between the two districts. Markaz Sinjar, as stated,
Christians. Al-Shemal sub-district’s population of 148,000 people is         was the center of the district, where all the different minorities
mainly comprised of Yazidis, followed by Arabs and Kurds. In the sub-        used to live peacefully. It is the proof that an harmonious life in
district, the population of 130,000 Yazidis is mainly concentrated in        ethnic mixed settlements was possible. Today, six years after the
six complexes (Khansour, Dukri, Dhula, Burk, Kohbel and Zorafa) in           tragic conflict with ISIL, not only the population is mostly displaced
addition to Sununi city (Shimal subdistrict center) and 23 Yazidian          and the villages are partly deserted and abandoned, but the lack
villages. Arabs are present in 17 small and medium villages with             of social cohesion caused by mistrust and reciprocal blaming of
a population of approximately 12,500, and 5,000 Sunni Kurds of               compliance or connivance with the ISIL led to a fragmentation in
the Tatan clan live in the Dhula complex. Despite good relations             the return patterns: ethnic-mixed villages disappeared, and the
between the Yazidis, the Arabs, and the Kurds, and the proximity of          small amount of returnees tend to go back to areas in which their
the different villages to each other, there are only two mixed areas         ethnicity (or religious belief) is predominant.
in the north. These are the village of Kar Shabak, with a population                                                                                        MAP 5 - Distribution of ethnicities among villages in Sinjar District.
of 3,455, of whom 2,218 are Arabs and the rest are Yazidis, and the                                                                                         Source: Wikimapia
Qadisiyah complex (5,000 Sunni Kurds and about 8,500 Yazidis).                                                                                           Arab        Kurd         Mixed       Shia         Turkmen        Yazidi
The southern part of the district, Al-Qayrawan, has a predominantly
Arab population in the main city center and the area’s surrounding
villages, with 50% of the population consisting of Arabs and 44%
Yazidis. However, Al-Qayrawan hosts the most Yazidis with 18,000
in Tal Qassab and 125,000 in Tal Banat. It also hosts the village
of Kojo, in which ISIS committed a massacre that killed 480 men
and boys, and kidnapped more than 1,000 women and children to
be used as slaves or to be recruited to ISIL. The district is home
to other communities such as Shia Turkmen, as well as Kurdish
groups, some of them Muslim Sunni and some of them Muslim
Shia. Markaz Sinjar, represented the symbol of the ethnic/religious
mix characterized by a strong social cohesion: it was the home of
Yazidis, Arabs, Shia Turkmen and tens of Christian families too. A
distinctive feature of the distribution of all the different ethnicities
in Sinjar District is that Yazidi villages are more precisely located                                                                                 FIGURE 10. Sunni Mosque and Shia Shrine in Markaz Sinjar
around Sinjar Mountain with 8% in the city centre, and not just in the
north of the district. A proof of this is the presence of Arab villages
at the extreme north of Al-Shemal sub-district, along the northern
border with Syria. Shia and Sunni Turkmen inhabit the villages in
the east of the district: in particular in the eastern part of the central
area administrated directly by Markaz Sinjar. It is an area that is
20                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sinjar Urban Profile

                                                                                                                                                                                  Breakdown in Ethnic/Religious groups
                                                                                                                            Overall            Population
                                                             Town (Arabic)                       Town (Kurdish)                                Breakdown
                                                                                                                           Population            by location      Yazidis        Arabs     Sunni Kurds    Shia Kurds   Turkoman   Christians

                                            Shimal Sub-District                                                              147,970                             130,968        11,902        5,000                      50          50
                                                            Al-Ta’meem                    Khana Sor                                               31,161
                                                            Hittin                        Dogure (Dkora)                                          23,429
                                                            Al-Qadisiya                   Dhola (Dhoula)                                          13,516

                                                            Al-Yarmouk                    Borek (Burke)                      124,275              18,259
                                                            Al-Andalus                    Guhbal (Kohpl Yazidi)                                   13,281
                                                            Al-Orouba                     Zorava (Zarafah)                                        7,831
                                                            Sinuni                        Shemal                                                  16,798
                                                                41 villages (23 Yazidi, 1 mixed village and 17 Arab)

                                                                                          Bara                                                    2,393            2,393

                                                                                          Karshabak                                               3,455            1,237         2,218
                                                                                          Kharuka                                                  136              136
                                                                                          Hardan                                                  1,917            1,917
                                                                                 Other villages                                                   15,788           6,279         9,509

                                            Qayrawan Sub-District                                                            74,000
                                                            Baath                         Tal Qassab                                              18,000          18,000

                                                            Al-Waleed                     Tal Banat                                               14,000          12,600                                    1,400
                                                                                    Qairawan                                                      16,000          16,000
                                                                          52 Arab & Yazidi villages:                          26,000

                                                                                          Old Tal Qassab
                                                                                          Old Tal Banat
                                                                                          Kojo                                                    1,700            1,700
                                            Markaz Sinjar Sub-District                                                       30,000                                2,200         7,500        9,000         9,000       1,500       100
                                            Villages under Sinjar Sub-District Centre                                        45,000
                                                                                                                TOTAL        444,934                             193,430        31,129       19,000        10,400       1,550       150

                                                                 TABLE 2. Estimated population before 2014 by sub-district and breakdown by ethnic/religious groups, as reported by municipalities and mukhtars


The conflict with ISIL in Iraq, from 2014 to 2017, led to huge waves   Sinjar, there is currently a flaw in the demographics. Before the
of displacement. In the country as a whole, the number of IDPs         ISIS occupation, the majority of the population were Sunni and
reached 3,4 million11. Sinjar district, too, saw large displacements   Shia Kurds (18,000 Kurds), followed by Arabs (7,500 Sunni Arabs),
with estimations reaching over 250,000 displaced Yazidis, mostly       2,200 Yazidis and a number of Sunni and Shia Turkomen. Presently,
towards refugee camps in northern KRI. Currently, Sinjar District      there are a significant amount of IDPs in Markaz Sinjar who do
is characterized by the lowest rate of return in the whole country,    not originate from there, including 12,000 Yazidis. Many of these
where the average return rate in Iraq is 73%, while in the district    Yazidi returnees were residents of the southern regions of Sinjar
it is around 30%12. This means that there are serious obstacles        and cannot return due to their homes being destroyed. However,
preventing the return of the displaced to their areas of origin.       the number of returning Shia does not exceed 300 families. In
The displacement also occurred within the district, with many          the villages and Mujama’at north of the mountain the return rates
families leaving their homes to flee towards the northern part of      are higher: likely driven by a lower level of damage of the housing
the district. There was no secondary occupation in the north and       stock caused by the conflict and a relatively more stable situation                                                                  #    Location                     Returnees        IDPs      TOTAL
there were procedures to use houses during the displacement,           in terms of security. Generally, it is more likely for people to go back
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1    Markaz Sinjar                16,227           8,514     24,741
hence returnees can use the house of an IDP if their own homes         to their homes if their ethnicity matches the majority of the area.
are damaged. However, they must get approval from the owner                                                                                                                                                 2    Markaz Sinuni                7,320            6,684     14,004
(other IDPs) to use their house, and this arrangement could involve                                                                                                                                         3    Dogure                       4,212            210       4,422
rent or be rent-free. A great number of people displaced within the                                                                                                                                         4    Khana Sor                    2,040            3,042     5,082
district boundary are located on Sinjar Mountain. Some of them
                                                                                                                                                                                                            5    Dhola                        5,100            0         5,100
fled towards this area during ISIL’s attack and still shelter there.
Some places where people settled, such as Sardashti camp, turned                                                                                                                                            6    Borek                        11,400           960       12,360
into a refugee camp, relying on support from humanitarian actors                                                                                                                                            7    Guhbal and Shorka            3,648            42        3,690
like UNDPO and Yazda, which deliver materials for repairing tents                                                                                                                                           8    Zorava and Zirwa             4,386            54        4,440
and consumables.                                                                                                                                                                                            9    Qayrawan suburban            1,374            0         1,374
Six years following the conflict with ISIL, displacement represents
                                                                                                                                                                                                            10   Kulat                        1,920            0         1,920
the main issue impacting life in the district. Some villages and
towns are underpopulated, and in some cases almost deserted.                                                                                                                                                11   Gormez                       852              0         852
Economically important facilities related to the production of goods                                                                                                                                        12   Khazukah      urban      and 2,286            0         2,286
from agriculture and livestock have not only been heavily damaged                                                                                                                                                suburban villages
by ISIL looting, but today suffer from a labour shortage. At the                                                                                                                                            13 Bir Adam urban             and 72               90        162
same time, the provision of basic services has become a challenge                                                                                                                                              suburban villages
due to the lack of qualified staff (e.g. teachers and doctors) to
                                                                                                                                                                                                            14 Bara                    174                     66        240
operate in the rehabilitated facilities.
Understanding the patterns of return is crucial to deliver adequate                                                                                                                                         15 Sardashty area          1,920                   4,212     6,132
and efficient support, both from the humanitarian sector and                                                                                                                                                16 Sharaf Al-Din urban and 2,886                   696       3,582
governmental institutions. There are often cases of rehabilitation                                                                                                                                             suburban villages
of facilities that are not used due to lack of demand or the lack                                                                                                                                           17 Qayrawan                        2,150           0         2,150
of skilled workers. It is possible to measure the return rate within
                                                                                                                                                                                                            TOTAL                              67,967          24,570    92,537
the subdistrict: Qayrawan sub-district appears to be the area with
the lowest rate, with numbers that hardly reach 10% of the original                                                                                                                                         TABLE 3. Number of families and returnees per village or area, June 2019.
population, with no IDPs seeking shelter in villages. In Markaz                                                                                                                                             Source: IOM-DTM Returnee Master List and IOM-DTM IDP Master List, 30 June
                                                                       11.IOM - International Organisation for Migration (updated on 30 June 2019), “Iraq DTM IDPs Dashboard”,


                                                                       12. IOM - International Organisation for Migration (updated on 30 June 2019), “Iraq DTM Return Dashboard”,

22                                                                                                                                                                        Sinjar Urban Profile


                                                                                     Al-Shemal                  7
                                                                              2       3
                                                                        4                                                                   8

                                                                                                                           Markaz Sinjar




                                                                                                                                                                           0   2   4   6   8   10
                                                                             MAP 6 - IDPS AND RETURNEES PER VILLAGE OR AREA, JUNE 2019. SOURCE: IOM-DTM RETURNEE MASTER LIST AND
                                                                             IOM-DTM IDP MASTER LIST, 30 JUNE 2019

                                                 International border             District boundary                 Sub-district boundary                  Built-up area

                                                 Main Roads                       Returnees                         IDPs


Governorate. Thus, it is important to assess the situation of IDPs          am to 3:00 pm and from 6:00 pm to midnight.16This is aimed at the
from Sinjar in refugee camps in order to fully understand the               provision of electricity for air conditioning and for lighting, and it
obstacles faced by those wanting to return to their areas of origin.        reportedly covers half of the need. Private generators are available
The camps in KRI and Ninewa are set-up, managed and supported               in some camps, where one ampere costs 13,000 IQD (around $11
by many humanitarian actors, such as AFAD Organisation, UNHCR,              USD).17 Water availability for human consumption and cleaning
IOM, WFP, UN-Habitat, Rawanga and many others. CSOs and the                 is usually acceptable. Tents and shelters are normally provided
government of the Kurdistan Region are also involved.                       with water tanks that fulfill the needs of refugees, except for some
Camps provide financial assistance to IDPs, allowing them to                periods in the summer when water consumption increases due to
continue living in the camps, as they prefer to stay there instead          the use of air conditioning and a greater need for clothes washing.
of returning to Sinjar where, according to them, there is a lack of
job opportunities. Resources provided to IDPs comprises of a
monthly grant, provided by WFP, of up to 20,000 IQD per person
(around $17 USD).13Refugees in camps can not only rely on the
grants, but also on livelihoods that are related to the activities and
location of the camps. There are potential job opportunities within
the camp, as many small grocery stores or repair workshops are
established inside the shelter structures. It is also possible to find
occupation in farms, factories, markets, shops, and even with
humanitarian organisations that work in the camps. Additionally,
IDPs have access to medical assistance which is one of the
basic factors that pushes refugees to stay in camps. Treatments
are delivered through medical centers inside the structures, or in
public hospitals in Duhok, Sumel, Azadi and Zakho. A particular
assistance that is appreciated and provides a sense of security is
access to maternity hospitals. Enrolment in education represents
a basic concern for IDPs in camps as the willingness to return is
closely linked to the possibility of children attending school and
relates to the start of the school year. Camps provide education
services to children, with more than 48,373 students aged 6 to 18
enrolled in education for the school year 2018-2019 in 15 camps
located in Duhok governorate14. This figure comprises of 25,404
male student and 22,969 female students and represents 90% of
the number of formally registered children in camps, and 32% of
the total number of IDPs. An additional 9,000 children from refugee
camps are studying in schools located in Shariya, Essian, Khanke
and Zakho. Thus, the total number of IDPs students is around
Other services are available to IDPs from Sinjar District currently
residing in camps, like electricity, water and sanitation. Electricity is
delivered on average for 9 to 10 hours per day, usually from 12:00
                                                                            13 UN-Habitat (November 2018), “Obstacles facing the return of displaced Yazidis from camps in Kurdistan to Sinjar”



                                                                            16 ibid

                                                                            17 ibid
24                                                                                                                                                               Sinjar Urban Profile

                                                                                                      8                   7

                                                                                                                  Zakho                        1              Al-Amedi
                                                                                         2     5



                                                                                                              4      3          6
                                                                                                                                                      13      12                                10

                                                                         Tal Afar


                                                         Sinjar                                                                            Mosul


                                                                                                                    Al-Mosul                                                                  Erbil

                                                                                                                                                               0   5   10   15   20   25

                                                                                             MAP 7 - LOCATION OF REFUGEE CAMPS HOSTING IDPS FROM SINJAR IN NORTHERN IRAQ

                                            International border   Sinjar District              Sub-district boundary                  Q
                                                                                                                                       Æ   Refugee Camp
                                            Main Roads             Ninewa Governorate           Duhok Governorate                          Erbil Governorate

One of the crucial aspects to be assessed in order to understand the
dynamics and above all the obstacles for the return of IDPs from
Sinjar district to their areas of origin are intentions and perceptions
of refugees living in camps. The last survey conducted with IDPs
living in camps by CCCM and REACH reports insightful data on the
reasons for the low return rate. First of all, it is worth mentioning that                                                                                              21%
more than half (52%)18 of the whole displaced population coming                                                                                                         13%
from Ninewa Governorate, today, comes from Sinjar district. The                                                                                                         7%
great wave of displacement from Al-Mosul district is well known,                                                                                                        6%
but this district has also seen significant returns, whereas in Sinjar                                                                                                  1%
district the majority of people that fled the district are still living in
Among them significantly more than half (69%) reports the
intention to remain in their current location, while almost a third                                                                        Sinjar
are unsure about where they will be located in the future with only
3% reporting an intent to return to their area of origin19 .Those                                                                           52%
numbers give a sharp idea of future return patterns, if no significant
action continues.
The perceptions of shelter conditions may be an important cause
                                                                                           Al-Mosul                   Al-Ba’aj                 Other   Tal Afar     Al-Hamdaniyah
behind the reluctance of families to return as among all the IDPs
from Sinjar district, 75% report their home to be completely                        FIGURE 11. Distribution of IDPs from Ninewa in refugee camps by district of
                                                                                    origin. Source: CCCM/REACH, “Intention surveys in AoO”, February 2019
destroyed or heavily damaged.
Our assessments suggest that this percentage does not match the
reality on the ground. Only some villages south of Sinjar mountain
reach these levels of damage. On average the level of damage,                                                              69%                                    28%         3%
though significant, is likely lower than the perceptions of IDPs.
Furthermore, a destroyed house is not considered as the main                           Remain in current location
obstacle for return. More than 74% of households from Sinjar district                  Do not know
                                                                                       Return to area of origin
report concerns about safety, and over 82% of households report
                                                                                    Less than 1% report intention to move to another location
that an increase in safety and security in Sinjar district is the most
                                                                                    FIGURE 12. Movement intentions of IDPs from Sinjar District.
important condition for them when considering returning20. This                     Source: CCCM/REACH, “Intention surveys in AoO”, February 2019

issue concerns and significantly impacts the displaced population,
more than the perception of services and assistance provided in
the area of origin, even if 56% of surveyed IDPs reported a lack of
availability of basic services and 65% reported the lack of livelihood                                                       74%                                  14%   12%
                                                                                           Have concerns about safety
                                                                                           Have no or little concern about safety
                                                                                           Do not know
                                                                                    FIGURE 13. Perception of safety of IDPs from Sinjar District.
                                                                                    Source: CCCM/REACH, “Intention surveys in AoO”, February 2019

18 CCCM Cluster – REACH (February 2019), “Intentions Survey: IDP Areas of Origin”

19 ibid

20 ibid

21 ibid
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